FMCSA: Sunset of 3G Networks Could Impact ELD Tech Specifications

ELD inspection during Road Check event
An officer conducts an ELD inspection during a Road Check event. Drivers are urged ask their ELD provider about its plan for upgrading or replacing a device to one that will be supported after the 3G sunset. (TT File Photo)

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Federal trucking regulators are warning truckers that mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks as early as next year to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G.

When the changes happen many older cellphones and other mobile devices will be unable to use data services, and may not be in compliance with electronic logging device technical specifications, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials.

According to an FMCSA document, “Once a 3G network is no longer supported, it is highly unlikely that any ELDs that rely on that network will be able to meet the minimum requirements established by the ELD technical specifications, including recording all required data elements and transferring ELD output files.

Heading Into the Sunset

Dates when some cellular service providers will be discontinuing their 3G networks:

• AT&T 3G: Feb. 22, 2022

• Sprint 3G (T-Mobile): March 31, 2022

• Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022 

• T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022

• Verizon 3G: December 31, 2022

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

"When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction. In accordance with [federal regulations], the carrier has eight days to get the malfunction resolved, in this case by replacement, unless an extension is granted.”

“Many other carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks,” FMCSA said.

“If you are unsure if your ELD relies on a 3G network, contact your ELD provider. If your ELD does not rely on 3G, and meets all minimum requirements, no further action is needed,“ the agency said. “If your ELD relies on a 3G network, ask your ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing your device to one that will be supported after the 3G sunset, and complete the necessary actions as soon as possible.”

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